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Kerry are playing catch-up on the Dubs, admits Murphy

By Declan Bogue

In Diarmuid Murphy's final year as Kerry goalkeeper, he came up against Dublin in the 2009 All-Ireland quarter-final.

The Kingdom were wobbling. A Munster semi-final replay defeat to Cork came prior to Sligo ace David Kelly's spurned penalty rescuing them in a qualifier.

On an unlikely afternoon in Tullamore, Antrim pushed them all the way in the same week that indiscipline in the camp made the papers with Tomas ÓSé and Colm Cooper breaking drinking bans. They were in a tight spot.

Then they came to Croke Park and let it all out, hammering the Dubs by 17 points in Pat Gilroy's first season in charge.

So what has changed in the meantime to allow Dublin to dominate?

"Dublin have a stronger team than they had 10 years ago, definitely," acknowledged Murphy.

"Dublin are a better all-round team than they were then. They have put huge work into their under-age set-up down through the years, the coaching systems, getting the best players through and promoting them up through the development squads, which we are all trying to do.

"They are reaping the rewards of that. Fair play to them. They have a very strong team."

The 41-year-old Dingle man waited until he was 28 to make his Championship debut as goalkeeper and played six seasons, making the All-Ireland final in each year, being beaten twice by Tyrone.

Since he accepted Eamonn Fitzmaurice's invitation to join his management team, Kerry have played 21 Championship games. They have lost only two, both of them to Dublin, making tomorrow's All-Ireland semi-final a D-Day of sorts given how the Dubs bullied the Kingdom in last year's final and the National League decider back in April.

"Of course, it is a massive day. Plus the fact you are playing Dublin and they beat us last year," said Murphy.

"We would be keen to get back into an All-Ireland final. Having tasted it in 2014, you want more of that and the lads want to experience that again. We are going to have to win the next day if we want to get back there.

"I am sure it is a big thing for the players to be playing Dublin because of the fact that they have beaten us before. We want to get back to a final too."

He doesn't cling to the perception that Dublin's resources now creates an uneven playing field, going as far as to defend them against those observations.

While admitting that the huge investment in Dublin GAA has been a factor in their development from youth level up, he qualifies it by saying: "They still had the same resources for 20 years when they were struggling to do as well as they are doing now.

"I don't think it is fair to criticise a county for using what they have available.

"I think it would be better for everybody else to get their own place in order."

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